Feeds

Microsoft preps fix for IE 8 flaw that makes safe sites unsafe

Third time's the charm

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Microsoft will release an update intended to rid Internet Explorer 8 of a vulnerability that can enable serious security attacks against websites that are otherwise safe.

The change, which will be introduced in June, will be the third time in six months that Microsoft has tweaked a feature used to filter out XSS, or cross-site scripting filter, attacks against websites. The filter, which Microsoft introduced with the release of IE 8, is designed to strip out malicious commands that exploit the vulnerabilities, which plague many websites.

As The Register reported in November, the new XSS filter could be exploited to introduce XSS attacks on sites that otherwise weren't vulnerable. Microsoft has twice made changes to the feature, once in January and again in March, but last week, researchers at the Black Hat Security Conference in Barcelona showed the filter still injected threats into sites that included Google, Wikipedia, Twitter and even Microsoft's own Bing.

"This issue manifests when malicious script can 'break out' from within a construct that is already within an existing script block," David Ross, of Microsoft Security Response Center, said here. "While the issue identified and addressed in MS10-002 was identified to exist on high-profile websites, thus far real-world examples of the SCRIPT tag neutering attack scenario have been hard to come by."

XSS exploits allow attackers to inject malicious code or content into trusted websites by convincing victims to click on booby-trapped links. Because the links contain the well-known domain names, they rarely arouse suspicion, as was the case recently when admins from the Apache Foundation visited tainted links that exposed their login credentials and led to a serious security lapse.

Features like Microsoft's XSS filter, or a similar protection offered in the NoScript add-on for Mozilla Firefox, are designed to prevent such attacks. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.